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Categories > Diabetes > Living with diabetes

Do you have diabetes?

Diabetes doesn’t seem like the kind of disease you could have without realizing it, but about 6 million Americans are in the dark about their status. Symptoms develop gradually, so many people don’t realize that there’s a problem. But untreated diabetes is dangerous—it can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, foot amputations and other complications. If you’re unsure whether you’ve got diabetes, consider these warning signs:

You may have type 1 or type 2 diabetes if:

  • you’re always thirsty or very hungry, especially if you also have unexplained weight loss
  • you constantly feel tired and irritable
  • you urinate more often than everyone else

You may have type 2 diabetes if:

  • you’re obese or overweight
  • you’ve ever been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance
  • your cuts and bruises take a long time to heal, or you get infections frequently
  • You can’t prevent type 1 diabetes, which develops when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. But you can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, or help keep it under control. How?

  • If you’re overweight, lose 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight. That’s 10 to 20 pounds for a 200-pound person.
  • Exercise at moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.
  • Cut back on junk food and eat small portions of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and nonfat dairy products.